For the first time since the U.S. declared a war on cancer in 1971, the rate at which Americans are diagnosed with the disease has started to decline, according to an annual report that tracks the illness. New cases fell by an average of 0.8 percent a year for the five years ending in 2005 as increasing numbers of people in the U.S. gave up cigarettes and took advantage of improved screening techniques and better treatments. While death rates have been falling since 1991, this was the first time researchers saw a drop in new cases diagnosed for men and women since they started publishing the report in 1998. The findings, reported this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggest the pay-off from improvements in detection and treatment of cancer are now being matched by dividends from prevention, said Otis Brawley, medical director of the American Cancer Society. “This is evidence that a lot of the things we’ve been saying about cancer prevention and control since the 1970s are working,” he said in a telephone interview this week. “Prevention efforts are finally catching up with our treatment efforts and arestarting to bear fruit.” About 1.4 million people… Read full this story
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